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Centre Street in JP soon to be back down to just one Indian restaurant

Jamaica Plain News reports on the demise of Ghazal on Centre Street.

UPDATE: Headline changed because, as Chris Helms at Jamaica Plain News reminded me, there's now Tikki Masala in Forest Hills.

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They lasted longer than I expected they would.

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I reviewed Ghazal back in 2009 for the Boston Phoenix, noting the fact of its friendly, solicitous waiters as a kind of watershed moment in a town where Indian restaurants historically could be relied upon for surly, sullen service. The food wasn't amazing, but still.

The team behind the excellent Tres Gatos and the remade Centre Street Cafe (which I haven't yet tried) are taking it over to do a Mexican place.

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We liked Ghazal but I am mighty excited for a good Mexican place. It's always seemed odd that there's nothing to fill that niche in JP. I've only been to the new Centre Street Cafe for brunch but it was top notch and the remade space is so great looking. These guys seem to have a good feel for the neighborhood and have avoided the trap a few others have fallen into of creating generic-feeling, overly chi-chi restaurants--bravo to them.

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The brunch was good before they took over and they left the menu alone, which is about the only thing they left alone.

"These guys seem to have a good feel for the neighborhood and have avoided the trap a few others have fallen into of creating generic-feeling, overly chi-chi restaurants--bravo to them."

Let me guess, you're one of the new crowd of recent JP arrivals, right?

Good feel for the neighborhood? Are you kidding me? Centre Street Cafe feels like a goddamn Crate and Barrel catalog now; like some junior interior decorating student did it as their freshman project, complete with the token baskets/glassware hanging on the walls, the filament light bulbs that are popping up everywhere, etc. All the charm is gone. Everyone in JP used to go there because it was funky. Now people like you go there because it feels "safe" and comfy.

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I haven't been to the new one yet, but always felt the old version was incredibly overrated for what it was. The food was pretty good, but no way was I going to wait in line for it.

I do love the "real JP'ers vs. the new ones" argument, though. Bravo Mr/Ms. Authenticity! Keep it real.

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When they renovated the place, they managed to rearrange the floorplan so that the big skylight, which used to light mainly the dinky little bathroom and the dish-washing area, now actually lights the floor of the restaurant. I'll take that over that other definition of "charm" (or as I like to call it, "neglect") any day.

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The old restaurant was tired and dirty with a terrible layout that required patrons to go through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. And the new owners had to buy out the old owner (who wanted to retire) and pay the renovation costs, plus any adjustments to the lease. None of that is cheap,and those costs are reflected in the prices.

The new restaurant has insanely good food, great service, and is owned by long time local business owners. Maybe I can't afford to eat there weekly, but I will happily go for special occasions. Sorry you don't like the decor, but not all of JP can stay stuck in the glory days of the 1980s or whenever it was that the old restaurant was last updated.

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I mean... no one loves Acapulco more than I do... but a good, solid Mexican place is going to make me ridiculously happy.

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I swear I'm not a paid shill for them (though this is like the fifth time I've brought it up here), but Burritos Pizzeria, over next to Doyle's, makes some of the best Mexican food you'll ever eat. Its reviews everywhere online are terrible, but that's because they also serve Italian food, and apparently it's inedible. Not sure why you would get pizza from a place owned, staffed, and frequented entirely by Hispanic people, but their quesidillas, nachos, and burritoes are all top notch.

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Romano's had very good Mexican food and decent pizza -- but we haven't been there for ages, so can't attest to the current situation.

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This is really terrible. Between the two almost side-by-side Indian restaurants, Ghazal was the better one. We frequented its neighbor, Buhkara, many times before Ghazal opened but once we tried Ghazal we never went back.

Then last year it came to light that Buhkara, along with other restaurants in One World Cuisine Group (e.g. Diva in Davis Sq.), was accused of withholding pay from its employees. There's no way we'd give Buhkara any business now.

Luckily there are many other good options nearby. Tikki Masala across from Forest Hills Station is excellent, as are Shanti in Rozzie Sq. and Himalayan Bistro in West Roxbury. Still, it's too bad Ghazal is closing.

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Are you sure about that? I believe Bukahara's owner owns just one other place on Newbury.

I like Bukara's food a lot more.

I hope the owner of the upcoming Mexican place gives more food than his other places. Love the one across from CVS near S. huntington, The Acapolco. Been there for decades and the owner is very nice.

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Bukhara is part of the One World Cuisine group, which also owns Mela, Diva, Kashmir, Shalimar, and Dosa Factory (http://oneworldcuisine.com/restaurants/).

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MUCH better service, and better spiced food.

I was unaware of the story on Bukhara stealing tips-- you're right, and it looks like it happened for quite a while. No wonder the staff was always pissed; I'd be.

This is so much bullshit. Not only is Bukhara a repeat offender, giving me no faith whatsoever that they won't keep stealing from staff despite the lawsuit, but they are also the owners of Dosa Factory, one of my favorite cheap food places.

In the future, if there's any question about whether or not restaurant staff is being treated fairly, I'm going to ask for a manager before I'm seated and ask, in front of the other staff members, if the staff is getting paid and allowed to keep tips. Then watch how uncomfortable they get.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2014/12/23/deny-city-permi...

http://openmediaboston.org/content/one-world-cuisine-restaurant-group-su...

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Good to know that Tikka Masala is good. What's their strongest dish?

Ghazal's food was always top notch, but I've never had such consistently terrible experiences with delivery. Every six months or so, we decide to give them one more try because their tikka masala is so good, and every time we do it, we wait 90+ minutes for delivery, or something goes horribly wrong with the order. To their credit, they usually give us gift certificates to apologize, but the gift certificates are only good in-restaurant, and we only ever get delivery, so...

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I love Shanti!!

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... are both so good that one feels guilty about choosing one over the other. ;-)

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How did Center Street Cafe turn out? After disappointing experiences at Tres Gatos, I'm hesitant to set foot in the place. Bring back peanut noodles, dammit.

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